I had been in business for about 20 years before I became aware of Michael Gerber. Within a short period of time his book: “The E Myth Revisited” changed my life.
Hey, this is Don Bishop.
I’ve recently reorganized everything physical in my life, from where we live, where we work to all of the stuff around us. I haven’t changed what I do, but everything physical has changed and as part of that change, I have a lot of physical stuff to deal with.
But one of the kind of joys of that is I recently relocated all of the books that I own and I physically got to touch each and every one of them. And one of them that really stood out in that process because it had such a strong influence on me was Michael Gerber’s “E Myth Revisited”. So I want to tell you a little bit about how this book influenced me and why.
I saw Michael Gerber live somewhere around 2010 at a conference in Las Vegas. I had been in business for myself for 20 years at that point and he was talking about something that was way over my head. Kind of next generation work that he was doing with entrepreneurs, but I was fascinated by him and some of the things he said did resonate with me. So I bought one of his books. I bought this book “The E Myth Revisited”. And this book really set me on a completely new path in business.
One of the big mistakes that I made for many years was that I was really good at building business communications pieces and could do all kinds of things and had done all kinds of things, whether it was slideshows and videos, and 16 millimeter movies at one time. Got into print, production, annual reports, company brochures, all sorts of things.
At this particular point in my life, I was changing everything around to keep up with new technology and the way the world was changed. But one of the things that I realized is that what needed to change was not the technology as much as the way I thought about what I was doing. What the E Myth talks about is that lots of people think that entrepreneurship is somebody who’s good at something and then they turn that into a business.
And there are lots of examples of that in the book and I took that idea that you know, making a business out of the things that I could do. I took that to ridiculous lengths, even to the point where I remember, you know, being able to produce videos and then thinking “Well, an animated video would be cool because I’ve got this rudimentary animation program”. So I essentially sold animated training programs to one of my good clients. And then had to learn how to make animated training programs and videos. And that was fulfilling to me and it was exciting because I love learning new things and I was able to do it. I was able to figure out how to do things and deliver products. Clients liked them, clients loved them.
But the sort of myth part of that was that… I did not really turn that into a repeatable business that would really have legs and be sustainable. For me, it was me more as an artisan figuring out how to do things and delivering something new. A one-off every time. What Gerber talks about in this book is the idea of creating systems for everything so that you can really scale an enterprise and so that the one person that knows how to do it isn’t the person that’s doing it all the time. But the one person who knows how to do it, or maybe even doesn’t know how to do it, but basically can set up a business with a number of different systems in that business. So that the business can grow by adding more people, more technology, more customers, and that up until say 2010/2012, some something like that, was an extremely limiting factor in the way I did business because I really did not have a focus on scaling the business.
And that’s still something that I struggle with, but I’m getting a heck of a lot better at it. So I wanted to share that with you that the “E Myth Revisited” it’s not about the latest tricks and techniques. It’s not about internet marketing. It’s not about… It was written in 2004, but it does help a great deal in getting your head screwed on right!
If you are in the process of going from not being in business to being in business or trying to grow a business that already exists. For me, it gave me the ability to completely revamp my business and make it much more sustainable, much more profitable, and much easier to run. Those are all really good things in my mind. So not the latest and greatest, but had a huge impact on me, and I think still has incredible value.
If you’re thinking about growing a business, you want to take a look at this. It’s a really easy read. Gerber’s amazing. He’s interesting to learn about one way or another, but check it out.
“The E Myth”, Michael Gerber.